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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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26  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 10, 2014, 10:13:01 pm
U.S. Plans Worker ‘Surge’ to Aid Ebola Effort in Africa

The U.S. is planning a “surge” of federal workers into West African countries hit by Ebola, and has hired the air-ambulance company that evacuated two infected U.S. citizens in July to support them.

About 1,400 U.S. government employees are in the region now, and more are on the way, the State Department said in a contract document posted today. As workers for global aid groups have fled, “the vacuum is increasingly being filled” by U.S. aid providers, the document said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-10/u-s-plans-worker-surge-to-aid-ebola-effort-in-africa.html

That's a lot more than I'd thought... previously we had reports of up to 100 C.D.C. workers. This feels a lot more significant. A lot more of them are also being repatriated after being exposed to Ebola than is being reported. We only hear about the confirmed cases.

In the worst case scenario here, Africa may be partially recolonized. The governments here have no operational capacity.
27  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cuomo v. Teachout on: September 10, 2014, 06:32:47 pm
Reminds me of the Jim Webb-Harris Miller primary in 2006.
28  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: AP: Obama to deepen America's military role in Mideast on: September 10, 2014, 05:23:22 pm
"WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major reversal, President Barack Obama is moving to deepen the U.S. military role in the volatile Middle East, including training and arming Syrian rebels

But I thought it was a fantasy for some farmer yokels to suddenly rise up and be able to fight?
29  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 10, 2014, 02:44:14 pm
Africa has a major problem with distrust of medical workers, disobedience of quarantine, and a failure to understand the mechanism by which disease spreads. We're separated by the disease by a huge ocean (both literally and culturally).

Let's be realistic about the numbers. Since the outbreak began, there have been 932 deaths due to Ebola. In the same time frame, 300,000 Africans were lost to Malaria and 600,000 were lost to Tuberculosis. And, of course, we'll likely see another 1,000,000+ Africans die to HIV this year.

It's a scary-sounding disease, but it's not a real threat. If there's any contagious disease to be concerned with in the U.S., it's the flu. It'll kill thousands of Americans this year.

Also, some other stuff that may have been too obvious to mention before. The fatality rate for Ebola is orders of magnitude higher than than these other diseases. In 2012, there were 200 million cases of malaria and only 627,000 deaths, a 0.6% fatality rate. And most of those people probably died because they didn't receive the proper treatment. One third of the world population is thought to be infected with Tuberculosis bacteria. 90% are asymptomatic. Of those "incident cases" that do occur, among the HIV-negative population about 1 in 9 resulted in a fatality. AIDS was highly fatal in the 1980s until the mid-1990s, but is now treatable. Survival time increases to up to a decade and with proper, early treatment the death rate falls by 80%.

In contrast, Ebola's death rate in the current outbreak is between 65%-75% within a very short amount of time. The official Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is currently about 50%-55%, but that is diluted by the inclusion of newly reported cases that have not yet had time to resolve. If Ebola ever became as common as Malaria, for instance, it would likely kill more people than World War I, the Spanish Flu, the Holocaust and World War II combined. The gruesomeness of Ebola cannot be denied either. Bleeding everywhere, vomiting out your internals, and melting organs are not things anyone likes to contemplate.

It's ironic that the article Mr. Moderate links concludes by blaming the "hysterical" media for people's fear of Ebola, but I have made my disdain for the mainstream media clear throughout this thread. If I followed the media, 80% of my posting here would have been about the few cases of Ebola patients brought to the U.S. for treatment (or the constant reports of "suspected cases" here and there), since that is mostly what the U.S. media covers. Heck, if I followed the media 80% of my posting here would be on ISIS and not Ebola. I am not concerned about Ebola because of the mainstream media. What I follow & have followed from the beginning are available throughout this thread to see: (1) Medicins Sans Frontiers / Doctors Without Borders (2) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone (3) The World Health Organization (4) The Centers for Disease Control (5) Direct eyewitness accounts of events happening in the ground. If you listen to these people and groups, which have more knowledge about this situation than any in the world, you will see that they are worried, and have been for some time.

The apathy and resistance to caring about Ebola, on the other hand, is driven IMHO by a quadrifecta of human follies that progressives should abhor the most: (1) traditional, religious superstition and ignorance. It is because of ignorance and being mislead by traditions, pastors, witch doctors, etc. that is the most damaging problem causing Ebola to spread. All the doctors and supplies in the world will not fix it unless people get educated, and begin believing in the existence of Ebola relying on scientifically-backed methods to control Ebola (2) classism. Rich people and those of us in rich countries do not care as much about Ebola precisely because we think our better equipped hospitals and medical systems will protect us. The subtext of this is that it is ok if the poorest people in the world die of Ebola for lack of good health care systems, as long as the rich are protected. (3) racism. Let's face it, if this was happening in Europe or Japan there would be a lot more attention to it. We have a fatalistic view of Africa that the place is a giant garbage dump and perpetually hopeless. This couldn't be farther from the truth as the continent is finally starting to pull itself up. But that would be cut short by Ebola. (4) nationalism. I am always amused at how the panic over Ebola starts to jump as soon as it is reported in another "country." As far as I am concerned, countries do not matter when it comes to natural phenomena, such as global warming, or Ebola. Well at least, they do not matter except to the extent that they influence human behaviors. But there is nothing magical about Ebola crossing borders. Unlike with wars or economics, being on one side of the border or the other won't protect you.

Here is quote from the Liberian Minister of Defence, addressing the U.N. Security Council:

Quote
"Liberia is facing a serious threat to its national existence. The deadly Ebola virus has caused a disruption of the normal functioning of our state," he told the UN security council.

"It is now spreading like wild fire, devouring everything in its path. The already weak health infrastructure of the country has been overwhelmed," he told the 15-member council, adding that the initial international response was "less than robust".

I assure you, CNN did not put him up to this.
30  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / Re: opebo vs. Scottish nationalism on: September 09, 2014, 10:12:06 pm
Scottish nationalism/Scottish nationalism (normal).
31  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 08, 2014, 10:45:08 pm
But getting back on track regarding ebola, Mr. Moderate summed it up quite well

Africa has a major problem with distrust of medical workers, disobedience of quarantine, and a failure to understand the mechanism by which disease spreads. We're separated by the disease by a huge ocean (both literally and culturally).

Let's be realistic about the numbers. Since the outbreak began, there have been 932 deaths due to Ebola. In the same time frame, 300,000 Africans were lost to Malaria and 600,000 were lost to Tuberculosis. And, of course, we'll likely see another 1,000,000+ Africans die to HIV this year.

It's a scary-sounding disease, but it's not a real threat. If there's any contagious disease to be concerned with in the U.S., it's the flu. It'll kill thousands of Americans this year.

The difference is that those are all known diseases that have more or less had the same pattern for decades. AIDS was terrifying in the early 1980s, as it should have been, and it eventually became a gigantic catastrophe. George W. Bush deserves credit, both personally and as a president, for not writing off Africa as a lost cause and putting American money into a cause which did a lot of good for very little personal or national benefit.

Ebola is worrying precisely because the pattern of infection is totally new and unknown. It is unknown what the ultimate consequences of the current outbreak are going to be. There is no precedent. All we have is the current exponential growth rates and the lack of any particular reason that I can think of as to how the disease might be controlled; even if it says in the three countries at the epicenter currently; still quite a catastrophe. If we had an Ebola outbreak of this size every year, as with Malaria and Tuberculosis, it certainly would be less worrying.
32  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 08, 2014, 10:32:47 pm
Beet, quick question.  Do you have a wall (or two) of your home covered in news clippings, maps, photos, etc?  Perhaps with red string pinned all over to connect them together?


The same logic and instincts that led me to think that there would be a populist backlash against Obama in November 2008, or that the Euro crisis was more serious than was being credence for in April 2010 (or that it had reached its peak by October 2012),

Did those same insticts also tell you Christine O'Donnel was going to win her senate race?

I think they're the same instincts that told him that it was a waste of time to post news stories about other GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential nomination, when Palin would obviously be the nominee.


Got me there, Mr. Morden, but why does Panda Express know about this? He/she has only been a member since July.

I'm a quick learner.

Or you're a previous poster known as Aizen who was staunchly anti-Hillary? That explains the vendetta against me.
33  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 08, 2014, 10:22:38 pm
Beet, quick question.  Do you have a wall (or two) of your home covered in news clippings, maps, photos, etc?  Perhaps with red string pinned all over to connect them together?


The same logic and instincts that led me to think that there would be a populist backlash against Obama in November 2008, or that the Euro crisis was more serious than was being credence for in April 2010 (or that it had reached its peak by October 2012),

Did those same insticts also tell you Christine O'Donnel was going to win her senate race?

I think they're the same instincts that told him that it was a waste of time to post news stories about other GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential nomination, when Palin would obviously be the nominee.


Got me there, Mr. Morden, but why does Panda Express know about this? He/she has only been a member since July.
34  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: CA-Sen 2016: Boxer likely retiring? on: September 08, 2014, 02:38:27 pm
Dang it, I was hoping Boxer would stay on for another term, seeing as she's only 73.
35  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 08, 2014, 02:02:47 pm
Liberia: Ebola Patients Starve At JFK

The three patients, all men, escaped butt naked after they reportedly frightened unarmed security officers assigned to the holding center at Cholera Unit, threatening that if they were not allowed outside, they would transmit the virus by vomiting and urinating on the security.

"The worst of it all during the dramatic scene, it took the Response Unit of the Ebola task Force about four hours to come on the scene to disaffect the area. They were running like though armed robbers were after them, touching everything they came across: children, women and men ran as fast as their feet could take them," he added.

The patients, who was seen crying bitterly for food, narrated that since many of them were taken to the center, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare abandoned the center, leaving them to the grace of God for survival. [...] he later narrated his ordeal that the managerial staff at the center only spray them on a regular basis and provide a meal once a day. "My people, hunger will kill us first before the Ebola Virus can reach its peak in our bodies. Nobody cares for us;, they collect us from our houses with high expectation that the government will provide food and medication, but it is proven to be the contrary," he said in tears.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201409081328.html?viewall=1

Jeez. This is like a horror movie. Ebola is raping this country.
36  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 08, 2014, 01:49:11 pm
Me back on July 19:

The kicker is the guy took the taxi to the hospital, potentially leaving his bodily fluids all over it and infecting however is the next person to take that taxi. There was no mention in the article that the taxi was tracked down and de-fumigated.

W.H.O. today:

Quote
"Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially," WHO said in a statement.

The organization noted that motorbike-taxis and regular taxis are "a hot source of potential virus transmission" because they are not disinfected in Liberia, where conventional Ebola control measures "are not having an adequate impact".

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/08/us-health-ebola-who-idUSKBN0H31RU20140908

I'd say being six weeks ahead of the World Health Organization based solely on reading news reports is pretty damned impressive. Another thing I deserve accolades on with this.
37  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 08, 2014, 02:36:54 am
Beet, quick question.  Do you have a wall (or two) of your home covered in news clippings, maps, photos, etc?  Perhaps with red string pinned all over to connect them together?

What, am I supposed to care about things in the proportion as they are reported on CNN? I determine the importance of situations through logic, not being led mindlessly by what some news executives in Atlanta or NYC deem will generate the most advertising dollars for their corporate entity. I am grateful for the mainstream media for first alerting me that Ebola had reached Conakry in April, after that I followed the story on my own.

The same logic and instincts that led me to think that there would be a populist backlash against Obama in November 2008, or that the Euro crisis was more serious than was being credence for in April 2010 (or that it had reached its peak by October 2012), led me to believe back in June that this Ebola situation was more serious than the mainstream media was giving it credit for. The last 3 months have vindicated me again and again, as well as MSF/Doctors Without Borders, which I have been holding up from the beginning as the ones we should be listening to. I am glad that the POTUS is finally coming around.
38  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Scotland: Shock poll put the Yes camp in the lead for the first time on: September 08, 2014, 02:29:37 am
It reminds me of the 1995 Quebec referendum.
39  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 08, 2014, 02:07:37 am
It looks like Obama is finally starting to take this seriously:

The US military will join the fight against fast-spreading Ebola in Africa, president Barack Obama said, warning it will be months before the epidemic slows.

Quote
"If we don't make that effort now, and this spreads not just through Africa but other parts of the world, there's the prospect then that the virus mutates.

"It becomes more easily transmittable. And then it could be a serious danger to the United States," he said.

Better late than never, bud. Godspeed!
40  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: September 07, 2014, 02:53:28 pm
The whole discussion about blowing things up is irrelevant because it's not going to happen. Putin's actions seem to show that he does value his relations with the West, because otherwise he would have "taken Kiev in two weeks" or so he says. For that reason it's a bit of a straw-man.

The problem is that even far milder actions (like France cancelling the sale of Mistral warships, or ejecting Russia from SWIFT) that would still play significantly into Putin's calculations, are not being considered because of short term economic calculations, as well as the 28-nation unanimity rule for any action to be taken. And since Obama does not seem to want to move ahead of the E.U., Slovakia has an effective veto on not only the whole E.U. bloc but also the U.S. It's the extremely tepid Western response than emboldens Putin, as of course he will move forward if he sees no cost to doing so (as in Crimea). Supplying weapons to Ukraine should be on the table, if not decided upon. After all, even during the Cold War, the West supplied weapons to countries fighting against Soviet domination (Afghanistan) quite successfully, whereas the Soviets supplied the North Koreans and North Vietnamese likewise. None of this implies a direct confrontation.
41  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: September 07, 2014, 12:51:48 am
Well that didn't last long.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ukraines-fragile-cease-fire-seems-to-be-holding/2014/09/06/b799a458-35fa-11e4-9e92-0899b306bbea_story.html
42  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pick any U.S. President you like.......... on: September 06, 2014, 11:55:16 pm
Wilson: Stay really neutral in WW I rather than the sham neutrality that led to us entering the war after he was safely reelected.

You like Wilson? What.

No, I don't like Wilson, but I like picking him as a President whose Presidency I'd want to change what happened in it.  "You like" in the idiom "pick any <thing> you like"  refers to liking the pick, not the thing.  By the way, v0031, why have you hacked Beet's account?

Nice try. Embrace the dark side, Ernest. Wilson, for all his faults, advanced U.S. interests and liberal ideals in important ways.
43  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pick any U.S. President you like.......... on: September 06, 2014, 09:32:27 pm
Wilson: Stay really neutral in WW I rather than the sham neutrality that led to us entering the war after he was safely reelected.

You like Wilson? What.

Clinton: Stayed away from interns, campaigned for Gore.
44  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Is the North ever going to have comeback demographically ? on: September 05, 2014, 05:18:34 pm
Is St. Louis ever going to return to the glory days of the 1904 World's Fair?
45  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 05, 2014, 05:12:44 pm
Great news... the EU is committing about $200 million to the fight.
46  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Woman, mattress, rape, performance art on: September 05, 2014, 05:08:03 pm
Regardless of what happened here, carrying around a mattress all over the place to bring attention to rape is a tremendously courageous thing. Everywhere you go, people are looking at you, wondering, and if anyone asks, you say you were raped? This kind of fearlessness is good in a way that most people can recognize, and I think this is why this story is getting so much attention.
47  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cuomo v. Teachout on: September 05, 2014, 05:02:31 pm
Could the Cuomo people be reacting this way in order to damp down expectations, so that they well end up looking good next week if they do well?
48  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: President Obama’s America is a passive, confused and ineffective superpower on: September 05, 2014, 04:37:34 pm
Excellent post, Bacon King. The president was certainly right to request congressional authorization before getting us into another war. It's in the Constitution, something I thought conservatives cared about (yes it's been generally ignored, including by Obama himself most of the time, but that doesn't mean it ought to continue to be). Obama requested striking Syria and the congressional Republicans denied it.
49  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: American forces bomb ISIS targets in Iraq on: September 05, 2014, 12:52:10 am
It's good that we finally have some skin in the game and are supporting someone on the ground, even though it's just the Kurds, who are limited by ethnic/national identity from really ruling the region, and who will always be seen as outsiders.

What we really needed were Sunni Arab allies, similar to the Syrian moderate rebels, who could have governed the majority of the area's non-Kurd population and provided an alternative to ISIS. But hey, this is better than the "don't do stupid stuff", hear no evil, see no evil that was the Obama administration's policy up until a couple months ago.

As for the Kurds, if they are successful on the battlefield perhaps they should use this opportunity to declare independence. Since the West really needs them more than ever now, they have a strong bargaining position.
50  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: September 05, 2014, 12:17:47 am
No doubt China wants to take down the US, but they have no reason to do so militarily when they can do so economically. Buying up Treasuries and promoting de-dollarization via direct bilateral trade and currency swap agreements (you mention the gas deals with Russia) are perfectly good strategies to end USD monetary hegemony and bring the US to its knees via debt and inflation.

This is absurd, China doesn't want to "take down" the U.S., as the U.S. is one of its biggest markets. If the U.S. went down, the Treasury bonds China owns and the trillions of China's dollar reserves would become worthless. China is just like any other country, it wants to do what is best for itself. If it thinks the U.S. is going to stand in the way, then yes it is going to disagree with the U.S., but it has no intrinsic hatred of the U.S. A bilateral currency swap agreement literally just means that if China trades with South Korea, they exchange Chinese currency with South Korean currency. Why must they use dollars if the U.S. is not involved? All it does is increase the costs needlessly. Its not some conspiracy against the dollar. When the U.S. is involved in the trade, dollars will still be used.

Quote
To begin with, Russia is supposed to build - essentially, on its own - the new pipelines that will only have one possible customer: China.

Actually there is some talk of Russia shipping gas to India via pipelines and since Pakistan would charge extortionist prices for crossing its territory Russia could, in the long term, ship gas to India (and all of Southeast Asia for that matter) via China. This would open up a market with over 3 billion people to Russia's gas, nearly half the world's population. It is very good strategic deepening for Russia's energy options.
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